Business Branding

China? Well, Kamikoto Touts Their Headquarters Are in Tokyo, Japan, But This is Why That Is Dumb/Funny

What city do you think of when somebody says Japan? I expect you to think Tokyo, and if that is also your answer, good job because the people at the Kamikoto headquarters are thinking the same thing. They are betting on it.

If I were to ask somebody in China, “where do you think the Harley Davidson headquarters is located?” The answer might be New York or Los Angeles because those are the biggest and most well-known American cities. It would not be a surprise to hear that, but they would be wrong because the Harley Davidson headquarters are in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

That bet is only partially paying off because Kamikoto is known as a Chinese product online (from their About Us with Yanjiang  being hidden/buried in their copy, Amazon questions page to the #1 Amazon review with 1,196 “people found this helpful,” it is hard to dispute otherwise).

That limited type of thinking is also oblivious about the knife industry in Japan because Seki City in Japan is the knife capital, not Tokyo (they only hype Tokyo because that is the city most people know).

The Knife Capital in Japan is Seki-City, Japan

Photo Description: a map of Japan with the Gifu prefecture highlighted. On the map you can see the surrounding cities of Kanazawa (2hr40m), Tokyo (2hr10m), and Kyoto (1hr10m).
I really do want to visit this area, and my homie Seigo is from there, this is his hood. Image courtesy of Visit Gifu.

If you think all things in Japan only happen in Tokyo, then I am sure you believe me when I tell you that French fries are from Paris, France.

It could be Vegas, at the Paris hotel (I’m not sure).
Photo Description: a map breakdown of the Gifu prefecture which is sectioned off into North, Central, South West, and South East. Seki City is located in Central Gifu.
In the US, we have regions regarded as coal country, like the Appalachian Basin. The same goes for Japan and its knife industry. Image Courtesy of Visit Gifu.

“The Seki-City, Gifu-Prefecture is a small town located in the middle of Japan, and is famous worldwide for its production of fine knives like Solingen in Germany.”

I have included a map of Japan for you to take a gander at to highlight where the Niigata and Gifu prefectures are compared to Tokyo. I mean, if you are going to go to the extent that Kamikoto has, why not say Seki or Niigata to reinforce the illusion of not being “Made in China (Yanjiang).”

Where Are Some of the Biggest Japanese Knife Producers Headquartered?

Unless you are the KAI Group which generates 43.9 billion yen/$382 million dollars (March 2020, consolidated basis) and has 2,583 employees (April 2020, consolidated basis), you probably are not headquartered in super pricey Tokyo, Japan. Also, if you want to know their exact location, that information is publicly available, 3-9-5 Iwamoto-Cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-8586, Japan, FYI. I can not say the same about Kamikoto, who says “Tokyo, Japan” as their company headquarters, sure, bro.

A line of salsas from New York City makes as much sense as Kamikoto saying their headquarters is in Tokyo.

  • Gihei, Sanjo, Niigata, Japan
  • Glestain, Niigata, Japan
  • Global, Tsubame, Japan
  • Jikko, Sakai, Osaka, Japan
  • Kikuichi, Nara (Kansai region), Japan
  • Kyocera, Kyoto, Japan
  • Masamoto, Tokyo (Azumabashi, Sumida-ku), Japan
  • Misono, Seki City, Japan
  • Mizuno (Tanrenjo), Seki City, Japan
  • Sakai Takayuki, Sakai City, Osaka, Japan
  • Shun (KAI), Tokyo, Japan (established in Seki City, Japan)
  • Tojiro, Tsubame, Niigata, Japan
  • This list does not contain the hundreds of craftsmen throughout Seki City.
Photo Description: Niigata (is highlighted in yellow and it is on the West Coast), Japan as it relates in relation to Tokyo, Japan.
Yup, not Tokyo, and if you want to see Niigata for yourself, plan a trip with Hokuriku and Tokyo.

There Is a Reason Why You Do Not See Taco Bell Claiming That They Are Headquartered in Mexico City

There is no long-term value in faking it because that is not how you build a successful brand, on deceit. Also, many of us are cool with having knives produced in Yanjiang, China, a city with 1,000 years of history (or a Dorito Loco tacos started by a dude named Glen Bell in LA). Except, this brand has become too reliant on culturally appropriating Japanese culture to market themselves.

Taco Bell does not claim to be Mexican food (more like “Mexican-inspired”), and they do not hide that they are headquartered in Irvine, Orange County, California.

Taco Bell is owned by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum! Brands

I do not see Kamikoto being truthful to their “customers (aka sucka’s)” because that is not who they are. If you want to see a brand that exemplifies how you do it right, check out this badass Chinese knife brand, Cangshan (they are gangsta on brand building).

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